Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The week started and finished on the McKenzie River Trail. I was planning on riding the MRT with Jacob and Muffy on a Monday but they were scheduled to work that day, so instead I went with Seth, Jodie and Eric from the store and Bruce my New Zealand teamate. Perfect weather, and perfect friends. Sometimes I just smile inside to think I get to work with the same friends I play with, I forget that Eric is one of the best riders around (he has been busy being a dad the last few years, Jodie is the best technical mountain riding woman I have ever ridden with (she puts me to shame) and Seth is just plain awesome. We work all week and then on our day off we choose to be together some more. I feel special to be part of that.
Then this Sunday is my favorite mountain bike race, Bear Springs. It is close to Bend (hour and a half), and it is on really fun terrain. Tricky single track, bike and hike, tough climbs and great friends. Last year there was some snow on the course so we were looking forward to a snow free course and we got our wish. For some reason I was on fire, not only did I finally manage a win here (after I don't know how many tries), I set a PR for me by almost 10 minutes. I feel pretty good about that. Half of our team showed up (not half of the mountain bikers but half of the team). We had our roadies, trackies and cross specialist out there in force. It was fun to see all the jerseys. Though the official results are not up yet I can guarantee we rocked.
Though I was tired from a hard race I still had one more thing to do this week, the McKenzie River Trail with Jacob and Muffy. This time they had the day off and Serena decided to come along. Not the perfect warm weather of the week before but the trail was snow free this time and it only started to rain after we got in the car. All four us have brand new Trek full sus bikes this year. Jacob and I on 6" Remedys and Muffy and Serena on 5" Fuel EXs. We were hot to test our skills and our bikes on the tough MRT lava. I would say we were all impressed with our bikes. I had the advantage of doing this trail at the beginning of my week and I was well chuffed that I manage to clean more sections than the first time. I think if I would have been fresher I could have done more. Jacob basically cleaned the whole trail. There are few unridable sections but he was awesome. Serena, who is trying to get her Mountain Bike skills up to par with her fitness was cleaning places she had never done before. She is becoming an awesome mountain bike rider. Muffy, who is good at almost every thing she does (from parenting, cooking to athletic endeavors), has a thing about rocks and bikes. After the yesterday, though, she is lot a better and is ready to tackle this trail again. I really feel the MRT is daunting, you have to be really skilled to like this trail (aka Jacob). I have mixed feeling about this trail. A broken foot and a bad facial cut have something to do with that. I prefer the fun, undulating Umpqua River Trail to the slow technical MRT. I am glad to have gone over though as it really is a blast. Thanks for reading, Kathy is glad I got those deer photos off my blog.
PS I forgot one thing. The photo of the tall guy with a bike is Barry Wicks and his new carbon Kona cross bike. It is a prototype, and no we don't sell those (we have IBIS carbon cross bikes witch are not prototype and available now) but it is cool to see one of our star crossers with a new bike in the middle of the woods at a Mountain Bike Race.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I was walking home the other day after meeting with a friend realizing I lived in the middle of a pine forest, a real pine forest. Yes we have paved streets, lots of houses and many non native plants growing in people's gardens and yards but it is still a pine forest. I like that. I have to make a disclaimer here, Kathy will not agree with everything I say here, but we don't agree on everything anyway.
So, I like living in a pine forest, it is like being on permanent holiday. I was born in Montana where there were lots of pine trees but I grew up in California in the Bay Area and that is not a pine forest. The pine forest was up in the Sierra Nevada my favorite place to go when I was a kid. I remember seeing Yosemite for the first time, I must of been around 10 and I was absolutely blown away. I wanted to hike all the trails, climb all the peaks ride all the roads and I loved the smell of the pine forest. I couldn't get enough of it. I can remember every trip we took to the sierra.
Later in life I went to Humboldt State College, which is in the middle of a Redwood Forest. Now I like a good Redwood Forest with all the amazingly tall and old trees, but I still prefer a pine forest.
My first Forest Service job was about 100 miles east of here in the Ochoco National Forest. This was really my first time to central Oregon and as I drove along the Crooked River to where my job was I wondered if I was going to see any trees. Finally at the last turn the Pine Forest returned and I knew I would be OK.
Many Forest jobs later Kathy and I were living out at Cabin Lake, this is about 75 miles south and east of Bend. This is one of the most amazing places I have ever lived, it is on the edge of the pine forest and the high desert. Look out the front window and there was a forest of old growth Ponderosa Pines, out the back window and it miles of sage brush and high desert.
So back to Bend and the west hills home we live in. Aubrey Butte is covered with pretty old growth Ponderosa pines the kind I like. It smells and feels like my holiday days from when I was a boy enjoying the Sierra Nevada mountain. I even like the deer. They are what really makes me know I am in a forest and not a sub division. The deer were here before we were and I am pretty sure they will be here after we are gone. We have also had bears and mountain lions in our neighborhood, like I said a pine forest.

Monday, April 12, 2010


This was our team minus one yesterday at Horning's Hustle Mountain Bike Race. A couple of firsts , a second, fourth and I think a sixth. Matt moved to Pro men and as in my mind that is winning in itself. Last fall I missed the whole mountain bike and most of the cross season. I tried to keep fit ( I did) and not gain too much weight (5 pounds it was). The problem is I still have those 5 pounds. I could tell yesterday I wasn't as crisp up the climbs as I would like to have been. I really have never been thin but I have a race weight I am accustomed to and 5 pounds extra is quite a bit. Go buy 5 pounds of butter and put in in your jersey pocket the next time you ride your bike.
It will go in time. Eat well and ride lots and I will get to where I want to be in a month or so.
Back to the team. We have a reasonably small team, we are all friends and last year we finished third in the Rivercity Mountain Bike series, this year our goal is first. It will be tough but it will be possible. First I will need to loose that weight and finish first and not second. Serena will have to keep having fun (check out her blog (bend and beyond), Lea, who just returned to our team will just have to show up and keep scoring points, Jim will have stay healthy and not have any accidents on his new Trek Scratch and Bruce, who just returned from a summer in his home country of New Zealand, needs to ride his bike with gears instead of the single speed. He managed to win the Cat 1 19-34 on a single speed. So yes I think it is possible to beat the powerhouse Portland Teams, Team Dirt and the everstrong Pistis team from Grants Pass.
I do like the Team Dirt name though.
On the trip home, we had the usual banter from Ben, Jim and Chris about the other drivers, some of the other racers and of course me and Chris talking about Canada some. Chris Sheppard was in the car with us, he won the pro division and he is from Canada. He always has something fun to say. When I got home I watched the Paris Roubaix. Somehow I managed not to hear who had won all day so it was a perfect way to end a perfect cycling weekend. On Saturday Chris Horner won the overall in the Tour of Basque Country. His biggest win in his career.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Last week, on my way home from Spain , my last flight was from San Francisco to Redmond. As I was watching out of my window I had this thought - this is like a one hour tour of my life as seen from the air. I have taken this flight many times but this was the first time I had seen it in this way.
Though I was born in Montana and started school in Alberta, most of my youth was spent in the SF Bay Area. My family lived in Cupertino, now famous for Apple, then famous for prune orchards. That is where I learned to love bike riding. As we took off I could make out all of the roads I used to ride as boy and teenager. I could also look across the Sacramento Valley and see the Sierra Nevada mountain range, another place that I spent as a young man.
As we headed north I was entering the time and place where I met my sweetheart of the last 40+ years. I could see the coast line where we had our first date, we flew over the Trinity Alps, our weekend backpacking heaven, over Mt Shasta and Mt Ashland.
Further north Crater Lake came into view, I think of Crater Lake as my spiritual home. Then it was over the Winema, Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests. I spent 10 years learning to be a man,learning about the woods and falling in love with Central Oregon in those forests. Of course at the end we flew over Bend, our house, our store, Phil's trail the present. It was quite a ride, how happy I am to have ended up here!

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